Papaji liked to say we are all living in a transit lounge. Other teachers have compared our temporary existence to more charming things like the morning dew.
Knowing our journey is transient does not mean we have to be in a hurry. We do not have to remain dislocated and disconnected.
We do not have to behave the way Chief Seattle is supposed to have described the Europeans' arrival in North America: strangers "who come in the night and take from the land whatever [they] need. The earth is not [their] brother, but [their] enemy, and when [they] have conquered it, they move on."
Getting ready to go on the road for 7 months, I was struck by what marked my last week: I found myself washing the shower curtain, sharpening the kitchen knives, co-hosting 12 family guests over the last weekend--and finally, months after the first invitation, visiting a friend’s pig farm (very tidy and overpoweringly smelly). Our friend's father was there, too, as he is most days, working on a stunning, 8-meter-high dry-stone wall--no cement, no metal--the same wall he has worked on by hand for the last 5 years. I let myself do these "unnecessary" things, but it did not feel like avoidance of the necessary.
Although I certainly had "too much to do" in the last week, knowing I was leaving nudged me to do exactly what would normally get postponed. I did not get everything on my to-do list marked off. And I am happy that people will enjoy the shower curtain and the kitchen knives, even if they don't notice them. And I left more connected, content, humbled by life and people.
Sometimes it is fruitful to live as if it is our last day, but sometimes it might also be fruitful to act as if we are just about to go away for a while, humble, connected, happy.